Pamfletter! : En diskursiv praktik och dess strategier i tidig svensk politisk offentlighet

Translated title of the contribution: Pamphlets! : A Discursive Practice and its Strategies in the Early Swedish Political Public Sphere

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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This thesis discusses argumentative strategies for legitimation and delegitimation in political pamphlets published in 1769 and in 1809–1810, each period representing the onset of democracy and freedom of the press. The aim of the study is twofold. The empirical aim is to examine the political language in the early political debate in pamphlets, with a focus on how the discursive strategies of legitimation and delegitimation are realised linguistically in the emerging public sphere. The theoretical and methodological aim is to discuss the kind of understanding modern methods of text analysis, specifically such used in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), can provide in the analysis of texts as old as 250 years. The thesis uses a framework for analysing legitimation as put forward by van Leeuwen and Wodak and proposes a framework for the analysis of delegitimation strategies. Specific attention is given to irony as a delegitimation strategy. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are performed on the material (consisting of 232 pamphlets) and an extensive description of the context is given in order to provide a deeper understanding of the discursive practice of debate in pamphlets – which is necessary for the analysis of discursive strategies.

The pamphlets in the two periods share many characteristics, but also exhibit many differences that can partly be explained by differences in context. The different contexts yield texts with seemingly different functions: while proposals and attacks seem to be prototypical text functions for political debate, the second period also has many texts that function as appeals for unity and mythopoetic narratives. Other differences between the periods concern the choice of authorisation strategies, the extent of moral evaluation and the use of mythopoesis. The most striking difference is that delegitmising strategies are much less frequent in the debate in the second period, 1809–1810, when the political situation was dramatic and delicate.

The theoretical discussion in this thesis circles around the concept of rationalisation and proposes a concept of irrationalisation. Irony is then seen as the prototypical irrationalisation strategy.
Translated title of the contributionPamphlets! : A Discursive Practice and its Strategies in the Early Swedish Political Public Sphere
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Languages and Literature
  • Svensson, Jan, Supervisor
  • Oscarsson, Ingemar, Supervisor
Award date2009 Feb 7
ISBN (Print)978-91-628-7660-9
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2009-02-07
Time: 10:15
Place: Humanisthusets hörsal, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Berge, Kjell Lars
Title: professor
Affiliation: Universitetet i Oslo


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Languages and Literature (015016000), Swedish (015011001)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature


  • legitimation
  • pamphlets
  • discursive practice
  • discourse history
  • public sphere
  • political debate
  • ironi
  • irrationalisering
  • rationalisering
  • delegitimering
  • legitimering
  • 1809
  • 1769
  • diskursiv praktik
  • pamfletter
  • politisk debatt
  • offentlighet
  • diskurshistoria
  • delegitimation
  • rationalisation
  • irrationalisation
  • irony


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